Preview of Dinamo Zagreb at Tottenham Hotspur Europa League

Tottenham Hotspur, Erik Lamela, Heung-Min Son, Tanguy Ndombele (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur, Erik Lamela, Heung-Min Son, Tanguy Ndombele (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images) /
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Tottenham, Harry Winks
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 26: Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring November 26, 2020 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /

Players to Watch for in Tottenham v Dinamo

Tottenham has a lot of star power these days but coming off three games in eight days and with the north London derby on Sunday, the question is how many of the starts play. With the idea that some stars may not play, who needs to step up for Tottenham in the XI?

Based on previous comments from José Mourinho we know that Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is not playing on Thursday. This means that Tottenham needs some other players to step up and help protect the back-line. This is a great opportunity for Harry Winks, coming off a solid 70 minutes against Crystal Palace to show his quality.

Spurs squad players need to come through

Given Dinamo are not likely to be able to apply the kind of pressure that a Liverpool or Manchester City might, Winks should have both the time and space and move the ball and make plays. Of course, time and space can be a double-edged sword with Harry Winks, as that could lead to slow, plodding play. Ideally, WInks uses that time and space to speed up his game and keep the ball moving forward and Tottenham on the front foot.

One of the players receiving the ball and that Mourinho hopes will propel the Lilywhites to a big win is Erik Lamela. Erik Lamela was good for Tottenham Hotspur early in the season, then was lost for about two months with injury. Lamela came back and was playing okay about the time both Dele Alli and Gareth Bale found fitness as well.

Since Bale and Dele have returned, Lamela has seen his playing time dip, although he has continued to perform when called upon. Like Harry Winks, This is a good opportunity for Erik Lamela to put his stamp on a match and make a statement about the role he should play moving forward. If WInks can play smart and fast, while Lamela is aggressive and productive, it should be a good day for Tottenham.

Dinamo has no shortage of goal scorers

We know that Dinamo has a solid keeper in Dominik Livakovic as the young man averages nearly four saves per match in Europa League this season and is the starting keeper for the Croatian national team. We also know Dinamo will likely line-up with a four-man back-line as they have for all of their other Europa League matches. However, the attack has been much more varied with goals coming from lots of different places.

Bruno Petkovic is Dinamo’s leading goal scorer thus far in Europe with four goals. However, Petkovic is only tied for third on the team in League with six goals. Mislav Orsic and Mario Gavarnovic both have 12 goals in the league, yet have only scored two in Europa League – both by Orsic. This variety of goal scorers is just part and parcel of Dinamo Zagreb.

Zagreb has had seven different players score for them in just the eight Europa League games this season and has had 13 different players score in Croatian League. For comparison, the Spurs have had more players score in Europa League – with eight different players scoring – but only had nine players score in the Premier League this season, far fewer than Zagreb.

The point is whether it is Petkovic and Orsic upfront or Lovro Majer or Luka Ivanusec coming from the midfield – Dinamo can get goals from lots of different places and players on the pitch.